As one of the founders of PMK publicity firm, Lois Smith helped helm the careers of Marilyn Monroe, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty, Liza Minnelli, Whitney Houston and Rosie O’Donnell.
After a long career in the industry, Smith died Sunday at age 85 after suffering a brain hemorrhage due to an accidental fall at a bed-and-breakfast.
Smith was in Maine at the time, where her husband, Eugene Smith, was set to be recognised for his philanthropic work.
Smith retired in 2010 after a trailblazing career in publicity. According to The Hollywood Reporter:Lois Smith, along with Pat Kingsley, Gerry Johnson and Pat Newcomb, formed Pickwick Public Relations in 1969. “We called ourselves Pickwick because we were amiable eccentrics – the staff and the client list,” Smith later said. In 1980, the firm merged with another agency Maslansky/Koeningsberg and was renamed PMK, where Smith and Kingsley were also joined by Leslee Dart. PMK, which was acquired by the Interpublic Group in 1999, eventually merged with another of Interpublic’s agencies, HBH, to become PMK/HBH and in late 2009, as the result of yet another merger, it became known as PMK*BNC.
In 2003, Smith won the Publicist Guild’s Life Achievement Award, Scorsese states, “Lois stands out as a beacon in the industry,” said the famed director. “What matters to her is the art as it should be.”
Photo: Grey’s Anatomy
In an interview in 2010, Smith, who was retired at the time, said:
“I’m so glad I’m not doing publicity now. Between celebrity magazines and Web sites, there’s so much out there to be filled up, so much information that has to be put out there simply because those publications exist. First of all, whatever you’re pushing, it becomes a story 30 seconds after you put it out there. I don’t care about hearing so much information minute by minute. People are desperate to fill the space they’ve got; they’ll print anything, go with anything, pursue rumours, and even create them. It’s not what I call publicity.”
In addition to being a well-respected publicist, Smith was also mother to three children, one of whom is “Grey’s Anatomy” actress Brooke Smith.
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